The French government has mobilized a team of more than 100 people to secure the release of a kidnapped reporter in Iraq and has made stable but intermittent contact in the case, the prime minister said Tuesday.
Jean-Pierre Raffarin did not specify with whom officials were communicating, but told parliament that contacts had been established in efforts to free Florence Aubenas.
Aubenas, a veteran reporter for Liberation newspaper, was taken hostage Jan. 5 with her Iraqi guide, Hussein Hanoun. She was last seen leaving her Baghdad hotel.
"As long as the dialogue is established, there is hope," he said, in a brief address to mark World Press Freedom Day. "I want to assure you that all the services of state are mobilized."
He said French officials have "stabilized contacts - but contacts that are on-and-off, long, interrupted by long periods of silence, but re-established every time."
"It's a difficult dialogue in a particularly difficult situation," he said.
Separately, the reporters mother, Jacqueline Aubenas, expressed "great sadness and anguish" about the captivity at a news conference held by press freedom group Reporters Without Borders.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the registration of the first vaccine against coronavirus. Russia has thus become the first country in the world to register the vaccine against the novel coronavirus